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Reclaimed Memories
ca. 1931 - 1932

Bonebrake Theological Seminary

he name of the school in Dayton, Ohio, at that time was "Bonebrake Theological Seminary," so named to honor the man (Hon. P.I. Bonebrake) who had donated many acres of very valuable land on the outskirts of the city, for the establishment of a school for the education of ministers and missionaries, especially of the United Brethren Denomination. Since the union with the Evangelicals and the Methodists the name has been changed to "The United Theological Seminary," but I will always refer to it as," Bonebrake," since that is what it will always be to me.

Aerial View, Bonebrake Theological Seminary   (Now known as United Theological Seminary)
Aerial View of Bonebrake Theological Seminary - Dayton, Ohio - Founded in 1871 as the Union Biblical Seminary (Now known as United Theological Seminary. Merged in 1954 with the Evangelical School of Theology, which was founded in Reading, PA, in 1905, originally known as Schuylkill Seminary.)
Click Here for Pictures of the Old Dayton Campus

ADDENDUM - According to the seminary records, it was named Bonebrake Seminary in 1909 after John and Mary Bonebrake gave the seminary 3,840 acres of Kansas wheat land in 1906. It is named in honor of the six great uncles of John Bonebrake who had been pioneer United Brethren preachers. At the time the name changed from Union Biblical Seminary to Bonebrake Theological Seminary, the campus was still located at First Street and Euclid Avenue. It did not move to the "land on the outskirts of the city" (Harvard Blvd.) until 1923. That land was purchased by the seminary, not donated by P.I. Bonebrake. Fout Hall, the dormitory in which Elizabeth and Troy Brady lived, was named for Rev. J.E. Fout who served as business manager of the seminary when the land was purchased. After 82 years on Harvard Blvd., the seminary moved again in 2005 and is now located in Trotwood, OH.

For more on the history of United Theological Seminary see the seminary history page at

Robert Evans, a member of our church; was graduating from the school in May and Rev. Miller was taking a carload from our church to honor him. He invited us to go along. Troy could not get away but I was happy to be able to go and learn something firsthand about entrance requirements before fall, when we were to be students there. I had an interview with the president and he encouraged us to come, although we had no visible means of support. I told him that I thought we would have less than $300.00 in savings by fall. He said almost every student there was just as poverty stricken as we were; that our experiences would strengthen our faiths if we stepped out on the promises of the Lord.

At that time there were two schools of education in Bonebrake. One was the Diploma School, to which high school graduates were admitted and the other was called The Graduate School for college graduates. At that time we felt, as a married couple with a child we could not possibly go to college and seminary both before answering the call to the ministry. The Diploma school gave three years of training which prepared any student for full ordination in their conference. We had taken a big step in going to school at all. Troy could have taken the home course of study and eventually been ordained, while serving some of the smaller churches in our West Virginia Conference. We still feel that we chose the wisest choice for us at that time.

Just before we began to dismantle the house for our move to Dayton, Beulah and Buddy were married by Rev. Harry Miller, in our living room in Vienna. Buddy's brother, Frank Clinton, and my sister, Ruth, came for the ceremony.

I was twenty-four years old and Troy one year older our first year in Bonebrake. There were many older men in the Diploma school. Some had been serving churches for several years and most were pastors at that time. There was only one other wife who was taking schooling along with her husband. Other wives were just sitting in the dormitory. I was unable to find work and it cost only $100 each year for my tuition. There were several women who were studying to be missionaries, but I do not remember any who expected to be an ordained minister. The church had to wait many years for that to be accepted. In this respect we were behind The United Church of Christ. May Bullock, a lady pastor from that denomination was in one of our classes. She was a rather large, middle age lady, just taking a class or two that she was interested in. I remember of her telling in class one day that someone in the church had accused her of running the church. She said she replied, "No, I am not running the church. I would love to run the church but all I can get out of it is a slow walk."

We paid $25 for a 1919 Ford Model "T" Touring car . The motor was very dependable, but after twelve years of use the top leaked and the risinglass curtains were almost non existent. When it rained I held an umbrella over us as best I could. In 1932 we paid $10.00 for a 1922 Sedan, with a good body, but a "shot" motor. Troy transferred the motor of the touring car to the body of the other one, using the best tires from the two. Lo and behold! We now had a conveyance that added a little to our status and vastly to our convenience. (A little sidelight. When Joy and Marion were examining the new Ford Taurus we brought home the last day of 1988, Joy asked, "Does it have central control for the windows? I really like that feature." I replied, "No, it doesn't, but we have seen the time when we would have been happy to have windows in our car." I was recalling Seminary days.)

I cannot now imagine how we could possibly have gotten all the things we took to Dayton into, or on, that old touring car. We must have carried Marion's bed on top of the car. Our apartment in the dormitory had two fair sized rooms and a private bath. We had to furnish our own linens and bedding accessories. Meals were provided and all students and their families ate in the big dining room. Each family had their own table and singles were grouped together, as they desired. We picked up our food on trays and there was always seconds for the hearty eaters. What paradise! I did not have to cook a meal for nine months!

"Cleopatra the Beautiful" Our 1919 Model T
"Cleopatra the Beautiful" Our 1919 Model T

The Dormitory Where We lived
The Dormitory Where We lived - Fout Hall - Bonebrake Theological Seminary
Click Here for Color Picture of Fout Hall

Classes began at eight o'clock and lasted until noon and each professor assigned about two hours of reading or writing work to be done before the next class. There were no classes on Monday, in deference to the pastors who were serving churches. Many left school at noon on Friday and returned on Monday. There was not too much time for socializing, but we did have some "fun" parties to which the faculty families were invited.

Marion was such a dependable little boy for a child of his age. He was five just about the same time as the end of our first year at Bonebrake. I would leave his breakfast on the desk and his clothing laid out, with drawing materials handy. He was always perfectly happy if he had a pencil in his hand. (It is not much different today, except that instead of a pencil he has a computer)

He and another little boy, Billy Blatt, who was a few months younger, had permission to ride their tricycles in the long halls and they spent hours each day in this pastime. The childless older couple, who had the apartment across the hall from us, were so fond of Marion. They spent more on him for Christmas than we did. She offered to keep and eye on Marion while I was in class, so I was never worried about him.

Troy had a job as night watchman at the Dayton Malleable Iron Works. That job was always reserved, by the company, for students from Bonebrake. They worked rather long hours and both were on duty at the same time; one to answer the phone and the other to make the rounds of the factory, ringing in each hour from a different location. It took about forty minutes of each hour to walk the round, and ring in at each designated place. The other twenty minutes they could nap or study. The duties were alternated between the two each week.

Troy was always so tired the week that he had to walk the rounds. Each round covered a mile or more and much of it up and down steps, often in the dark. There were many large rats which found warm lodgings near the furnaces. Troy told of killing one which had gotten into a large metal hogshead and could not escape. After that experience he knew the meaning of the old expression, "squealing like a cornered rat."

It was usually a task to get Troy up in time to get to classes, for he never got sufficient sleep at night. I kept threatening to leave him if he did not get up when I awakened him. One morning I did just that, leaving him without a car to get there. That did not bother him for he was still asleep when I got home in the afternoon! But he did get up when I called after that. He did not want to miss any more classes.

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